I needed a break in my liquid diet. I needed variety. The original plan was to walk a couple of blocks to McDonald’s and have some pancakes—perhaps the least solid of solid foods by the time they’ve soaked up butter and syrup. But I decided to turn the meal into an experiment. I ordered their full breakfast. Pancakes, eggs, hash brown patty, bacon, sausage and English muffin.
Okay, what about the hash brown patty. It’s essentially soft potatoes with crispy edges. Would the crispy bits want to catch in my throat, irritate my irradiated tissues? Nope. no problem.
On to the sausage patty. Would the finely ground and reconstituted meat fight me? Nope, no problem. Cool. “Meat” is back on my menu.
But the bacon. Leathery and brittle. I pictured a cured and caramelized pork shard lodged between the tumor and my epiglottis, or stuck in my vocal cords. Chew well, chew some more, beverage in one hand, napkin in the other in case I start gagging, and… Okay, but probably not the best thing in my condition. I put the rest of the bacon aside.
That left the English muffin. Gluteny, chewy, with jagged carbonized edges. A sponge for mouth secretions, potentially wheat-pasting itself in exactly the wrong place. I took a small bite. Mmmmm, bread. When was the last time I had bread? I chewed and chewed and chewed until I figured I’d disarmed it. It went down well, but was the flavor payoff worth the work and worry? Eh, it’s a tossup. But it gives me hope that my dearly loved and highly craved bagel & schmear isn’t out of reach much longer.